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The Ministry of Transport and the infrastructure manager CDG Express ("GI CDG Express"), equally owned by Groupe ADP, SNCF Réseau and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, has signed the concession contract for works relating to the CDG Express link project on 11 February 2019.

Under this contract, GI CDG Express is responsible for financing, designing, building and maintaining the CDG Express link for 50 years. It will connect the Gare de l'Est (Paris-East station) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in 20 minutes. Groupe ADP will be committed to finance the project through equity contribution of €134 million and a non-renewable repayable advance of up to €150 million.

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Manila Rail

PHILIPPINES: Philippines’ Department of Transport has launched invitation for bids for three civil works packages on Malolos-Clark railway project, linking Metro Manila and Clark International Airport.

The 53km line will have 7 elevated stations and the total value of the project is USD 3.2 billion.

The bid submission deadline is 10 May 2019.

The first package includes a 17-km railway viaduct and two stations, the second one - a viaduct with a length of 16 km, including one station, and the third one, includes a 12-km railway viaduct and two stations.

The bidding documents have been prepared separately for each package and shall be bid as separate contracts.

The project is estimated to be completed at the end of 2023.

The bid documents can be accessed here >>>

The Department for Transport has also broke ground of the Phase 1 of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project on 15 February 2019.

NR Clark Phase 1, a 37.6-kilometer mass railway transportation project ,will have a total of ten stations, namely, Tutuban, Solis, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos station; and will house a depot at a 14-hectare lot in Valenzuela City.

Once completed, this project will reduce travel time between Manila and Bulacan from 1hr45min to just 35 minutes, serving approximately over 300,000 passengers daily.

The 147-kilometer NSCR Project estimated to cost around PHP777.55 billion will have 36 stations from Clark International Airport to Calamba, Laguna.

The railway project will connect PNR Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban-Malolos) PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark) and the PNR Calamba Project which will run from Manila to Calamba.

The NSCR System will also link with existing railway lines LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3 and the Metro Manila Subway.

After signing the contract with Sumitomo Mitsui Construction on 23 January 2019, advance works already began to make way for full construction.

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ROMANIA: Romania’s railway infrastructure company CFR has published design and execution work tender to deliver the phase one of the modernization of the North Bucharest railway line to Henri Coanda International Airport.

The total estimated value of the project is RON 420 mln (EUR 88.6 mln), and includes construction of a 2.95km double track, 1.52 km viaduct, three bridges and a passenger station at Terminal 1.

The duration of the contract is 14 months, of which 2 months are estimated for design and 12 months for execution, plus 60 months warranty period. The deadline to submit the tenders is 25 March 2019.

The project "Modernization of the Bucharest North Railway - Henri Coanda Airport" is part of the Master Plan of Transport of Romania.

The tender documents are available here: http://sicap-prod.e-licitatie.ro/pub/notices/c-notice/v2/view/100047961

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HEX Oyster

UK: Contactless bank cards, mobile devices and Oyster cards will all be accepted on the fastest route between London Paddington and Heathrow Central from Tuesday 19 February. The quick and easy ways to pay follow the introduction of ticket barriers at Heathrow and on Platforms 6&7 at London Paddington.

With half of all pay as you go journeys in London now regularly made using a contactless card or mobile device, these payment options offer a quick and easy way to travel for the 17,000 passengers that use Heathrow Express each day, integrating it with paying for travel across all of the capital’s Tube, rail and bus network.

Children aged 15 and under travel free on Heathrow Express using their Zip Oyster card.

Using Contactless payment or Oyster costs the same as a Peak or Off-Peak Express Single, depending on the time of travel and is not included in daily or weekly fare capping. The best value Heathrow Express fares including return tickets and advance fares from £5.50 each way at weekends remain available online or via the Heathrow Express app. With barcode scanners on every ticket barrier, customers purchasing tickets online or via the app can also get on board quickly and easily.

Customers travelling in Business First class can also use Contactless or Oyster by touching in and purchasing an upgrade from the on-board team. Business First offers a more private, spacious environment with wider seating, tables you can work from and a selection of complimentary magazines and newspapers.

Working in partnership, Heathrow Express and Transport for London (TfL) have installed new multilingual ticket machines at Heathrow, which allow customers to easily purchase, top up or refund an Oyster card (up to £10) and makes paying for travel with Oyster simple and convenient.

Les Freer, Director of Heathrow Express said: “Speed is everything to Heathrow Express customers so the introduction of Contactless and Oyster offers quick and easy ways to pay for your journey. This also adds to our already wide range of ticketing options offering customers choice on how they make the most of our service on top of our advance tickets from £5.50 each way at weekends.”

Shashi Verma, Director of Strategy and Chief Technology Officer at TfL, said: “The extension of Oyster and the Contactless system to include Heathrow Express offers customers the opportunity to make their journeys more smooth and efficient – both are easier and quicker to use than paper tickets. We have also worked with Heathrow Express to provide new ticket machines at Heathrow, where customers can purchase an Oyster card to cover all their travel during their stay, making their visit much easier.
“Half of all Tube and rail pay as you go journeys are now regularly made using contactless payment because it is so quick and easy. We are committed to making paying for transport easier for everyone and this extension means that all rail services within Greater London now accept payment via Oyster and Contactless. We continue to work with the Department for Transport to support their aspirations to further expand the benefits of this world-renowned ticketing system to other key locations outside of London.”

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RUSSIA: 100,000 passengers paid for their Aeroexpress trips at the company’s turnstiles, using contactless payment options in 2018.

Contactless payments can be made at the Aeroexpress turnstiles with Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and Union Pay contactless cards, Troika transport card, and mobile devices that support the functionality of payment options with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay.

MasterCard turned out to be the most popular contactless payment option in 2018, with 45% of all transactions made with it.

“We have been constantly developing our sales channels and expanding the number of payment options so that our passengers could pay for their Aeroexpress journeys using any way that is the most convenient for them. As of today, our company offers cutting-edge payment options. An opportunity to purchase a ticket by simply touching a bank card or a mobile device onto a turnstile reader at the Aeroexpress terminal is one of them,” said Alina Bisembaeva, CEO of Aeroexpress.

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Oyster1

UK: The Department for Transport has announced a public consultation to deliver smart ticketing and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) travel to an expanded area across the south-east of England.

In the north of England, the government has allocated £150 million to the PAYG programme already being progressed by Transport for the North and, in London, Oyster ticketing already offers seamless PAYG travel.

"PAYG systems automatically charge the fare for the journey without needing the customer to buy a ticket. This could be more convenient for many passengers since it avoids the need to work out your daily or weekly travel in advance or queue up to buy tickets," states the consultation document.

The consultation offers the travelling public, business, local authorities and others the opportunity to have their say on how the system could operate and where it could extend to.

The consultation will look at the following areas:

What a PAYG travel area is and how it would work in general

Where a PAYG travel area in the South-East could cover, as the next step towards out wider ambition to roll out PAYG in commuter areas

The changes to fares that could be made within the area

The proposed PAYG travel area in London will include Luton Airport and should be delivered by the end of this year.

More information about the consultation can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pay-as-you-go-on-rail

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FINLAND: The Ministry of Transport and Communications is planning to establish a limited liability company Oy Suomen Rata Ab, wholly owned by the state, with a goal to comprehensively develop the railway sector and promote large-scale rail transport investments in Finland.

The Government's Cabinet Committee on Economic Policy has discussed the Ministry's proposal on 1 February 2019 and expressed its support.

Oy Suomen Rata Ab would be established with an initial capital injection of EUR 100 million working capital and will consist of five subsidiaries:

  • Project company Suomi-rata, or "Finland line", responsible for the development of the Airport line and Airport-Tampere rail corridor, with estimated total cost of around EUR 5.5 billion.
  • Project company Turun tunnin juna ("Fast Helsinki-Turku Line"), responsible for the development of the Helsinki-Turku connection, with estimated total cost of around EUR 2 billion.
  • Rolling stock company, which will oversee the partial demerger of VR Group Ltd, including the transfer of all Sm2 and Sm4 commuter trains to the new rolling stock company.
  • Real estate company will ensure competition-neutral conditions in the railway market by providing all railway operators with equal access to stations, terminals, depots and maintenance facilities as well as to services offered by these real estates. 
  • Rail Baltica company will manage Finland’s involvement in the Rail Baltica corridor linking Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

"It is clear that large-scale, necessary rail investments cannot be carried out from budgetary funds and that is why we need new finance methods. A solution has been sought throughout the government term. I am glad that it has now been reached in cooperation with the cities. Efficient rail transport services are essential for facilitating everyday mobility and extending the commuter areas. They are also a significant contributing factor for Finland's competitiveness," says Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.

 

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UK: Porterbrook has signed a contract with Bombardier Transportation to fit digital signalling equipment and complete specialist on-board conversions to Class 387 trains set to serve the Heathrow Express rail link.

The 12 specially converted trains will form a dedicated Heathrow Express fleet as part of a management contract announced in March 2018 which sees Great Western Railway deliver some of the operational aspects of the airport service.

Porterbrook’s £11m investment in the class 387 Electrostar trains sees proven Digital Railway in-cab ETCS signalling installed as well as on-board conversions including improved seating, additional luggage space, at seat power, on-board TV and fast WiFi.

Engineering and design work will take place at Bombardier’s Derby Litchurch Lane works, with fitment taking place at the company’s Ilford depot. The work will be completed by December 2019, meeting the Secretary of State’s commitment to replace existing rolling stock on the route with highly reliable, digitally enabled, Electrostar trains as well as extend the track access agreement to confirm the Heathrow Express service running until at least 2028.

Fitment of ETCS to the Class 387 trains will be the first time that digital signalling has been installed on an existing fleet of electric passenger trains. Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said: "I am delighted that Porterbrook and Bombardier can lead the way in the fitment of digital signalling to Heathrow Express Electrostar trains that connect London to the UK’s gateway to the world.”

"This first-in-fleet fitment will enable us to accelerate ETCS fitment on other Electrostar fleets, as and when our customers require it." Richard Hunter, President Rail Control Solutions at Bombardier Transportation, said: "As a global signalling solutions provider, we are delighted to be working with Porterbrook, Heathrow Express and Great Western Railway on this project, an exciting next step in the delivery of the Digital Railway."

Les Freer, Director of Heathrow Express said: “The introduction of a fleet of Class 387 trains specially converted for airport passengers is one of the main benefits of our new partnership with Great Western Railway. This helps us build on our 20 year history of excellent customer service as we continue to offer the same fast and frequent non-stop service between Heathrow Airport and London Paddington for years to come.”

Fitment of digital signalling to the Class 387 trains for use on the Heathrow Express route will result in ‘type approval’ from the Office of Rail and Road, enabling ETCS to be fitted to all Electrostar fleets.

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MALAYSIA: Sri Sutra Travel, a local travel agency in business and leisure travel, is partnering with Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL), the operator of KLIA Ekspres, the premium non-stop high-speed train service that connects the city centre to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA & KLIA2). Aside from purchasing KLIA Ekspres tickets at KLIA Ekspres ticket counters, website and app, travellers can now purchase tickets on Sutra.my and TravelCompute One-Stop Travel Technology platform.

Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Sri Sutra Travel is an online platform that provides airport transfers, accommodation, car hire, tailored tours, bus and rail ticket reservations, concert and sporting tickets and other related services to travellers. “We are definitely proud and excited to be partnering with one of Malaysia’s leading travel consultancies. Having been in the tourism industry for decades, Sri Sutra Travel has an extensive market both locally and internationally. “This partnership is important to ERL as it will expand KLIA Ekspres’ reach further within the Malaysian travel industry, and it makes it simple for travel agents to package the KLIA Ekspres with other local attractions and services,” said Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL.

Sri Sutra Travel CEO, Dato’ Syed Razif Al-Yahya also expressed his delight in the partnership. He said: “Sri Sutra Travel is committed to provide our customers with the best service for their convenience. Now, they can purchase KLIA Ekspres tickets after booking their flights so they can travel to and from the airport seamlessly and comfortably.”

To purchase the KLIA Ekspres tickets, simply log on to Sutra.my and click on “KLIA Ekspres”. You can select your starting location and destination (KLIA/KLIA2 to KL Sentral or vice versa), as well as the date. After selecting the number of Adult or Child (2-12 years old) tickets, fill in the contact details. Lastly, review your booking before you make the payment.

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BELGIUM: International mobility experts and partners of the LAirA (Landside Airport Accessibility) project, funded by Interreg Central Europe met in Brussels on 23 January 2019 to discuss the merits of different solutions for low carbon mobility at airports. These solutions are meant to support local and regional authorities, infrastructure providers and airports in achieving their goals for green airport access.

The conference "Towards smart and low carbon mobility", organised by the Airport Regions Conference, brought together European institutions, international transport associations, public authorities, airports, and advocacy groups.

LAirA project partners represent seven Central Europe's Functional Urban Areas of Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Milan, Stuttgart, Dubrovnik and Poznan. The conference mirrored one of the main objectives of LAirA project: to encourage airport passengers and employees to use sustainable transport modes when travelling to and from the airport. LAirA partners analysed seven action plans to implement low carbon mobility - electric mobility, air-rail links, walking and cycling, shared mobility, intelligent transport systems, wayfinding and road based public transport.

"The recommendations of these analyses could be a valuable input for the European strategy," Isabelle Vandoorne, Deputy Head of the Sustainable and Intelligent Transport Unit at the European Commission said.

One of the key recommendations that was applicable to all action plans was a closer cooperation with the key stakeholders.

"All project partners have emphasized that building strong and sustainable relations with the many stakeholders is key in ensuring the success of the project," Milda Manomaityte, Founding Director of the Global AirRail Alliance said. "LAirA project partners highlighted the political and local support as one of the main challenges in delivering airport rail link projects. The political support can be strengthened if the local community is behind the project and is actively advocating for it."

A surprising hot topic of the event was the walking and cycling, or "Active Travel" action plan, looking at ways to encourage airport staff and passengers to forgo motorised transport and get active. Some airports are already offering cycling schemes to their employees with bicycle maintenance shops and cloakroom facilities. With car parking real-estate becoming a scarce resource, airports agree that it is good idea to convince their workers not to drive and park at the airport, but instead to use public transport or active travel. The discussions, however, kicked off when conference participants started considering the active travel for passengers and if such option is realistic at all. An agreement was reached that walking and cycling would work best within the airport campus, for example, for passengers accessing nearby hotels and conference centres. Currently many airports do not offer safe and enjoyable pedestrian routes, so passengers rely on private hotel shuttles to move around the immediate airport environment.

LAirA project partners have also considered the opportunity to work together and establish a standard wayfinding signs for these new mobility services.

"A passenger that is arriving at the airport for the first time will not be familiar with local public transport system and terminology. For example, public transport can mean different things in different countries, and rail services have different names around the world, such as metro, u-bahn, s-bahn, subway, overground, underground, intercity and many more. Another good example is the app based transportation services, such as Uber and Lyft - each airport started to introduce their own wayfinding signs to represent them," Liam Henderson, Founding Director or Transporting Cities said.

According to Liam, LAirA project partners should lead the way in developing standard wayfinding signs and definitions for different airport land access services.

Andrew Murphy, Manager-Aviation at Transport & Environment, highlighted that airports have a big role to play to change the access to the airport, but also that greater investment and regulation is needed to achieve low carbon mobility.

On behalf of LAirA’s lead partner, Budapest 18th District, Gabor Csaba Sooki-Toth noted that "sustainable airport access has an important role in the development of the region and LAirA project aims to support the European vision of sustainable transportation through better urban planning and by providing mobility solutions accessible for regions, airports and users."

The solutions and actions presented at this event will help further future activities that will improve and decarbonize access to airports, supporting cleaner airport areas as well as the goals of the Paris Agreement.

"Public transport is undergoing major changes and challenges with e-mobility, car-hailing and other emerging mobility services, and it sometimes feels that infrastructures or administrations are not able to cope with these changes, but today we saw so many progresses that I am confident for the readiness of our public transport providers,” Léa Bodossian, Director of Aspire and the moderator of the conference, summarised the event.

DOWNLOAD

Air-Rail Links Action Plan >>>

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KENYA: A consortium led by Egis has won a contract to carry out a feasibility study for a rail link connecting Nairobi city centre and Jomo Kenyatta Airport.

Kenya Railways Corporation has awarded the contract as part of the FASEP (Private Sector Study and Assistance Fund) framework, a tool set up by the French government to finance feasibility studies and give access to the know-how of French engineering companies.

The project would respond to the need to decongest traffic in Nairobi city centre. More than 4 million people live in Nairobi without any high performance mass transit network. Most of the trips are made in matatus, independent minibuses organised by routes. There is a railway network but it carries only 12,000 passengers a day with a frequency of one to two trains per day in each direction.

Egis and its partners STOA, Transdev, Vinci and Alstom were commissioned to carry out the feasibility studies to connect the city centre and the airport by extending and improving existing lines.

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LLA

UK: London Luton Airport (LLA) experienced its busiest ever year in 2018, as 16.6 million passengers used the airport, a 5% increase compared with the previous year. For the month of December, the airport welcomed over 1.26 million passengers, a 19.7% increase on December 2017.

In its record year, LLA marked the official opening of its £160 million redevelopment project, which will increase capacity by 50% to 18 million by 2020.

Passengers in 2019 will further benefit from the extension of the Oyster and contactless card system on train services between London and the airport.

Work is also continuing on the Direct Air Rail Transit (DART), which will replace the current shuttle bus between Luton Airport Parkway station and the terminal. Once complete, the DART will run 24 hours a day, helping to reduce the journey time to central London to under 30 minutes.

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Dakar Airport Rail Link

SENEGAL: The first phase of a Regional Express Train connecting Dakar to Blaise Diagne International Airport (AIBD) has been officially launched by APIX, Senegal’s National Agency for the Promotion of Investments and Major Projects, on 14 January 2019.

The first section of the Regional Express Train links the capital of Dakar to Diamniadio. When both sections are completed in 2020, the Regional Express Train will link Dakar to the new Blaise Diagne International Airport in 45 minutes (14 stations, 55 km of track). T

the projects is part of the Emerging Senegal Plan launched in 2014 to promote the economic and social development of the country.

APIX has awarded the contract to supply 15 regional trains to Alstom in 2016. The Coradia Polyvalent train for Senegal is dual-mode electric and diesel and can travel at speeds of 160 km/h. ENGIE Ineo (lead contractor) and Thales hold the contract for design and construction of rail electrification, revenue collection, signalling, and telecommunication systems

 

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Macau LRT Route Map

MACAU: Macau Transportation Infrastructure Office has confirmed that the construction of the Macau Light Rail Taipa line is underway with relevant tests and operational preparations continuing to advance as scheduled.

The 9.3km Macau LRT Taipa Line will be the first rapid transit system in Macau serving 11 stations, which include Taipa's port and the airport, and is expected to commence services in the second half of 2019.

MTR Railway Operations Macau (MTR Macau), a 100% owned subsidiary of MTR Corporation, will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the line.

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A7102583 web

Johannes Thunert, Co-founder & CBO of Distribusion Technologies GmbH presenting at the Global AirRail Conference 2018

MALAYSIA: Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) continues on its aggressive digital partnership drive by partnering with Distribusion Technologies GmbH (Distribusion), a Berlin-based leading global distributor for airport transfer and intercity bus rides that enables travel retailers (travel metasearch engines, online travel agents, airlines, global distributors) to connect easily with airport transfer and bus operators worldwide.

This partnership marks a huge step for ERL in the expansion of its sales platform. Now with Distribusion onboard, KLIA Ekspres tickets will be available through their international network of partners of more than 30 retail partners, 8000 travel agencies across Europe and 20 airlines in more than 40 countries. This will help make KLIA Ekspres more visible and available to travellers globally.
 
Speaking on the partnership, Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL said, “We are definitely excited and proud to be partnering with Distribusion, a B2B company that connects retailers with travel agents and websites across Europe, Asian and the Americas. Through this partnership, we are able to expand our customer base globally and help travellers feel welcomed to the country by providing a comfortable and safe ride in the KLIA Ekspres”.
 
Founder and CBO Johannes Thunert of Distribusion on the partnership: “Following the high demand of our international retail network for fast and convenient airport transportation, we are delighted to partner with KLIA Ekspres. As an award winning airport transfer, KLIA Ekspres is constantly pushing the boundaries of service and reliability and we could not ask for a better partner than KLIA Ekspres.”

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USA: Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport and Trinity Metro welcomed the start of TEXRail service at Terminal B, offering customers the first public transportation option to directly connect DFW Airport to downtown Fort Worth.

“This year, DFW will serve more customers with more international flights than ever, and a growing number of our customers expect convenient rail service to take them from the Airport to a city centre,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport. “TEXRail provides our customers with direct access to Fort Worth, one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Along with DART service to Dallas, DFW customers have more choices to access the Airport or make their way across the Dallas Fort Worth region.”

“We believe TEXRail is going to be a game-changer for this region,” said Trinity Metro President/CEO Paul J Ballard. “Our new commuter rail line will give travellers the ease and convenience of taking the train to the Airport and arriving on time. TEXRail will be a great option for airport workers and other people who work along the route.”

DFW’s construction of the station cost $39 million and took 19 months to complete. From Terminal B, customers can access other terminals via Terminal Link (pre-security) or Skylink (post-security). TEXRail is the second train line to connect the Airport to the DFW metroplex, with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Orange Line providing light rail service between DFW Airport and Dallas since 2014.

Ticket fares are $2.50 one way or $5.00 for an all-day pass. Trains run daily from Fort Worth starting at 3:30 a.m. and arriving at the Airport before 4:30 a.m. The last train will leave DFW at 1:00 a.m. TEXRail will operate seven days a week, with trains running every 30 minutes during peak hours.

“We are providing first-class service for a nominal price,” said Trinity Metro Senior Vice President Bob Baulsir. “We expect to have 8,000 riders a day by the end of the first year of service.”

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SNCF AirFrance2

FRANCE: SNCF Gares & Connexions and Air France partnered up to offer in-town baggage drop-off service to customers travelling to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport from Paris Gare du Nord railway station. 

An Air France check-in counter, located at Paris Gare du Nord next to platform 3 opposite the SNCF shop, will welcome customers for three months as from December 17, 2018 from 10am to 7pm Monday to Sunday.

Air France, Joon and HOP! customers travelling from Paris-Charles de Gaulle will be able to check in their baggage between 30 hours and 8 hours before their flight. The service costs €15 for the first baggage item and €10 for each subsequent baggage item. Customers' luggage will then be picked up and delivered to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.

This service is available to customers travelling in the Economy, Premium Economy and Business cabins for flights from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to all destinations, except the United States and Israel. All baggage, with a maximum weight of 32 kg and a maximum dimension of 158 cm, can be checked in.

For family trips, a member of the family with parental authority can drop off everyone's baggage. This person must be part of the travelling party and must show all the family's travel documents.

This service is an important part of SNCF Gares & Connexions' City Booster strategy, which aims to open up stations in the city and provide improved connections to other modes of transport. It also helps customers travelling to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport by public transport by taking their baggage and simplifying their mobility.

The only other city in Europe offering this service is Vienna, where City Airport Train (CAT) passengers can drop-off their luggage in the CAT city railway station.

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Cotton Belt Station rendering web

USA: Dallas Area Rapid Transit has approved a $783 million contract for Archer Western and joint venture partner Herzog Contracting Group to design and build the Cotton Belt commuter rail line with assistance from lead designer Jacobs Engineering. The 26-mile line will stretch across North Texas from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Plano, and it will connect northern areas of Tarrant, Dallas, and Collin counties. 

Cotton Belt includes 10 total stations as well as interchanges with the DART light rail Orange, Green and Red lines, the TEXRail commuter line to Fort Worth and local bus services. Stations will be located in Dallas, Carrollton, Addison, Richardson and Plano. 

"North Texas is booming, and this reliable, local transit option will be a welcomed addition for many residents," said David Casey, president of Archer Western's heavy civil division. "We are thrilled to partner with DART and connect the communities of North Texas via Cotton Belt's high-quality transit service." 

Cotton Belt Map web

In addition to numerous past DART projects, Archer Western and Herzog are delivering transportation infrastructure in tandem across the Dallas/Fort Worth region. The companies are in the final stages of constructing TEXRail, a new 27-mile commuter rail project for Trinity Metro extending from downtown Fort Worth into Terminal B at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Archer Western is also completing a separate contract for the new DFW Terminal B station, the terminus for TEXRail. 

Construction on the Cotton Belt line will begin in 2019 with project completion anticipated in 2022.

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USA: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced that it has awarded a total of $16.6 million to 20 organizations around the country to support comprehensive planning projects that improve access to public transportation. The funds are made available through FTA’s Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning, which assists communities that are developing new or expanded mass transit systems.  

The Pilot Program for TOD Planning provides funding to project sponsors who will integrate land use and transportation planning efforts with eligible transit projects. The grants will fund comprehensive planning to support transit ridership, multimodal connectivity, and mixed-use development near transit stations.

FTA’s TOD Pilot Program was established under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2012 and continued by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015. The program is authorized through fiscal year 2020.

Two airport access improvement projects were awarded the grant:

FTA Blue Line Map web

Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo) in Indiana will receive $320,000 to support planning along the Blue Line Rapid Transit project, a planned bus rapid transit line that will link downtown Indianapolis, the airport and the Town of Cumberland. The operation of the line is planned for late 2022.

2030.LYNX.System.Map web

The City of Charlotte in North Carolina will receive $920,000 to plan for development along the proposed LYNX Silver Line, a light rail extension from Gaston County to the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Uptown Charlotte, Mathews and Union County.

In November 2016, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) approved staff's recommendation of light rail as the locally preferred alternative for the Southeast Corridor by adopting the LYNX Silver Line light rail alignment into the 2030 Transit System Plan

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AUSTRALIA: City of Greater Geelong Council has appointed a new committee aimed at moving the fast rail connection between Geelong and Melbourne project ahead.

The New Spirit of Progress Committee is an informal partnership between the key regional centres and it will work in collaboration with the state government on urgently needed regional rail upgrades, including the Melbourne to Geelong Fast Rail Project.

Council has also released a report commissioned by the City, which shows fast rail could deliver:

  • An express service from Melbourne to Geelong in 32 minutes;
  • A three-stop service via Sunshine, North Geelong and Corio in 36 minutes;
  • Geelong to Sunshine (Melbourne Metro’s future main transfer station) in 25 minutes.

The report proposes a new 7km regional rail tunnel at Footscray, which could pave the way for expansion of fast rail all the way to Warrnambool, and would also open major new capacity for Metro trains in Melbourne’s west.

A new dedicated station at Avalon, which would allow for 27-minute express services from Melbourne to Avalon International Airport is also included in the project report.